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Best electric bikes under £1,000: A buyer's guide

Joseph Delves
19 May 2020

How much electric bike can you get for less than a third of the cost of the average rail season ticket?

Electric bikes are great for making journeys when you can’t be bothered to provide all the momentum yourself. Commuting without sweating, carrying loads of shopping, or just giving your legs a break, they’re a fantastic alternative to a car or public transport and an ideal accessory for those with busy lives or searching for more sustainable forms of transport.

But what’s the minimum you can get away with spending? Considering all the extra electrics involved, £1,000 doesn’t leave much budget for a bike's regular mechanical parts. This means almost all sub-£1,000 e-bikes fall solidly into the category of bike-shaped-object.

However, that’s not to say you can’t get a good one for less than £1,000. With a few diamonds sprinkled in among the turds, here are eight of them.

For an alternative view on the best electric bikes, visit our sister site Driving Electric

The best electric bikes under £1,000

1. Decathlon B'Twin Elops 500 E Step Over Classic Electric Bike

Buy now from Decathlon for £650

The cheapest bike in our line-up, the Decathlon makes its cost-saving cleverly, providing a bike that’s cheap, but will leave you extremely cheerful. So what’s good?

Although basic, its 6-speed gearing is made by Shimano, and while its stately riding frame is made of steel, not aluminium, it provides comfort and durability. There are even some touches of real design flare, like the integrated lights which run directly off of the bike’s main battery.

There are even mudguards and a kickstand included as standard. Less pleasing are the v-type brakes and relatively small capacity battery which limits range. Still, you get far more than you could reasonably expect given the headline price.

Buy now from Decathlon for £650

2. Gtech Sport Electric Hybrid Bike 

Buy now from Gtech for £995

This ultra-simple single-speed bike aims to be low maintenance and user-friendly. Press the button on the removable bottle-style battery and the Gtech powers up.

With two assistance levels, an onboard computer calculates the assistance required. Using just one gear, the extra propulsion available isn’t huge, instead coming on smoothly to offer gradual support.

Rely continuously on the motor and you’ll likely get about 30 km worth of extra push, although keep plugging away yourself and this will stretch to 50 km or more. Overall the bike is light, and the quality of the components admirable, especially its clean and low maintenance belt-drive system.

About the only weak links are the basic V-style brakes, which aren’t as powerful or long-lasting as more expensive disc alternatives.

Buy now from Gtech for £995

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3. Carrera Subway E Mens Hybrid Electric Bike 

Buy now from Halfords for £999

Our top pick. Spending your full thousand will get you this excellent Carrera, equipped with hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano Altus 9-speed gearing, and an SR Suntour battery and motor.

A good two or three steps ahead of the competition, with manoeuvrable 27.5-inch wheels and a fun-to-ride geometry, it’s superbly versatile. With three full-bodied assistance levels, its SR Suntour drive system has a good reputation and is well-established enough you shouldn’t have problems with later servicing.

Fairly light and very robust, unlike more budget bikes, there are no weak links in its build, with all the electric and mechanical equipment being durable while the contact points also score high on comfort.

As an alternative, check out our review of the Carrera Crossroad electric road bike here.

Buy now from Halfords for £999

4. Pendleton Somerby-E Electric Hybrid Bike 

Buy now from Cycle Republic for £999

Classic styling with added electrical assistance, the Pendleton has a distinctly breezy vibe. With a step-thru frame and backswept bars, it’s easy to hop on and off, while remaining kind on your back when riding.

Giving a good head-up position for navigating traffic, it’s an ideal commuter, and thanks to the rack, mudguards, kickstand, and chain guard both you and your kit should arrive in an unruffled state.

The 8-speed Shimano drivetrain is of reliable quality, although the v-style brakes are a little basic. Using an aluminium frame to keep the overall weight down to an acceptable 22kg, it never feels cumbersome.

Supported within the rear rack, a decently sized 317Wh battery means it should easily do both legs of even the longest commutes on a single charge.

Buy now from Cycle Republic for £999

5. Falcon Glide 

Buy now from Marisota for £999.99

An aluminium frame, comfort-boosting suspension fork, and decent 6-speed Shimano Revoshift gearing help the Falcon get off to a good start. But it’s the chunky 360Wh battery that really drives it on.

Aiming for maximum comfort, both its saddle and handlebars are cushioned by suspension, while an adjustable stem means a relaxed riding position is always within reach. With three levels of assistance to choose from, these are selected with a unit on the handlebar which also displays the charge remaining via four LEDs.

With standard 700x38c tyres, the Glide is suited to commuting, but not adverse to segues across better-paved gravel tacks or parks. A kickstand, along with a rack and mudguards are also included as standard.

Buy now from Marisota for £999.99

6. B'Twin Riverside 500 Electric Hybrid Bike

Leaving a penny change from £1,000, this easy-riding hybrid is perfect for canalside pootling or use as a commuter. With an upright position, dual-tread style tyres help it work well on a mix of surfaces. Similarly, the suspension fork boosts comfort over bumpy ground but can be locked when used on smoother terrain.

The rest of the kit is pleasing too. The hydraulic Tektro TKD brakes are powerful and require little attention to keep working. Similarly, while B'Twin’s own shifter and derailer save the brand a bit of cash, both function well. Ditto the single chainring set-up which cuts maintenance and simplifies gear selection.

Looking to the electrics - the brushless 250-watt rear hub motor creates reasonable torque. Powered by a 418 w/h battery this also provides a good range relative to the bike’s cost.

By now from Decathlon for £999.99

7. Carrera Crossroad e-road bike

Buy now from Halfords for £999

Road bikes are expensive. So how much can you get for £1,000? Possibly all you’ll need. We loved the Carrera Crossroad e-road bike when we got it in for review. Sure it might be a little clunky, but it’s tons of fun.

Perfect for roadies who struggle with the hills, or who want to keep up with faster friends, its narrow tyres and drop handlebars mean it’s efficient on long distances. Powered by your own legs, its comparatively high weight is off-set by a gutsy performance from the motor.

With disc brakes and tough wheels, it should also last well. A little industrial looking, considering the price our main gripe is instead the lack of bottle cage mounts.

Read our full review here

Buy now from Halfords for £999

8. Assist Hybrid Electric Bike

On its launch, Halfords claimed this was the cheapest electric bike available in the UK. But is it worth it? Luckily Assist has prioritised the important bits, making this a serviceable little runaround. The steel shopper frame has few frills and with one gear there’s little to its drivetrain, a fact off-set somewhat by the electric assistance.

Instead, the making of the bike is its motor. This works well, although a small battery capacity limits it to medium-length commutes.

So, does it do the job? As long as you adjust your expectations, the Assist is a decent bike. It even out-performs plenty of rivals costing twice the amount, but then that might not be saying as much as it first seems.

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